Harry and 'Lotti To Feel Grotty? FA Spanks Fergie's Botty
Two weeks without a football being kicked in the Premier League, but the tabloids still seem able to light the blue touch paper on all kinds of issues both on and (mainly) off the field.
The last fortnight has seen tax scandals, disciplinary hearings, illegal tapping up allegations, stadium flare-ups, big money takeovers, internal disputes, World Cup qualifiers, looming insolvencies—and that's just a taster!
This weekend sees a return to the real action, with seven games today, another couple tomorrow, and a damp squib of a Monday night game to round off what should otherwise provide all the frills and spills that we have come to associate with the Premier League over the course of its colourful 17-year history.
Three figures who have featured prominently in the media spotlight since the last round of matches will get back to business today.
Harry Redknapp, embroiled in a tax and transfer scandal which seems unending, has vigorously defended his actions in writing in his regular column for The Sun. His high-flying Spurs travel to his old haunting ground Fratton Park.
The ever-vociferous Pompeians are likely to stoke the flames from Redknapp's acrimonious departure last season, whilst also dishing out much more colourful language to three former players who are proving integral to the London club's push for Champions League football.
Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, and Niko Krancjar will all seek to show their former employers what they are missing. The same applies to Portsmouth's Jamie O'Hara, on loan from Spurs, Kevin 'The Ghetto Prince' Boateng, Younes Kaboul and Michael Brown.
Poor old Emile Heskey, who has seemingly been 'misqouted (sic)' in telling the press that he may look to leave Aston Villa in January will hope to have a chance to prove to Martin O'Neill that Capello continues to pick him for England for good reason. Free-scoring Gabi Agbonlahor will continue to do his best to keep his team-mate out of the pans of both managers.
In the North, the FA will be monitoring closely the behaviour of the League's longest-serving manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
He has been derided in the media for his unsubstantiated (and quite offensive) claims that Alan Wiley was past his sell-by date as a top flight official. Will his champions step up a gear or two and dispatch of Bolton emphatically. Or will questions marks continue to loom over his side's credentials this year?
Elsewhere, expect a real mixed bag, as the League continues to throw up surprises. It is anyone's guess how many goals will be scored and who will be the day's winners and losers.
Two under-performing teams in need of a result are debt-ridden West Ham and newcomers Wolves.
Two teams who will surely come back down to earth from their hot air balloons are Man City and Burnley, with the former soon to discover that money is the often the devil if placed in the wrong hands, and the latter soon to find out that money can often prove useful in the short-term if in the right hands.
Monday night for me is a non-event, with Fulham destined for another respectable, if slightly lower, mid-table finish this season, and Hull for nailed-on relegation fodder.
Hero Of The Week: Paul Hart. Pompey's boss should be able to build on the momentum that has been gathered by his side's first win of the season and an end to the sub-prime Al Fahim's shambolic tenure as owner with a gritty three points at home.
Villain Of The Week : Emile Heskey. Probably won't get off the bench. Definitely won't score. Should try his hand at centre-back or in goal.
Shock Of The Week : Ferguson to keep his mouth shut, albeit with a content grin on his face.
Arsenal 5-1 Birmingham
Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea
Everton 3-1 Wolves
Man Utd 4-0 Bolton
Portsmouth 1-0 Tottenham
Stoke 1-1 West Ham
Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool
Blackburn 2-0 Burnley
Wigan 2-1 Man City
Fulham 0-0 Hull City
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